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Worst toilet contenderNominee

September 2nd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

This squatter is located in Transnistria (aka Trans-Dniestr or Transdniestria). It’s a breakaway territory on the eastern Moldovan border beside Ukraine.

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(4 votes, average: 5.25 out of 10)
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Why you shouldn’t drop something down an Indian squatterNominee

September 2nd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Almost painful demonstration of how to get the toilet handle out of the toilet.

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(1 votes, average: 10.00 out of 10)
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Most pathetic virtual travel romanceNominee

August 30th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

japanese cartoon character

Girl-friend less Japanese men have found companionship on their iphones. Not via a new dating site, but a program called Love Plus that allows them to travel to different locales (yes, actually travel, not just online) to have their photo taken with Rinko, a popular Japanese school girl cartoon character.

At certain spots, they stand beside a two-dimensional barcode that uses “augmented reality” software to make them appear to be standing beside the virtual love of their virtual life.

It may sound lame. You  may wonder why they haven’t just bothered to learn Photoshop. But so far more than 2000 young men have traveled to the once romantic city of Atami for a faux photo op.

Check out the story in SMH here.

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(3 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10)
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Tourism

Family on camping trip gets pulled over and cuffed — yet another case of excessive police force [EDITORIAL]Nominee

August 21st, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Titanic Editorial: You can easily forgive the police for a case of mistaken identity when they pulled over a white mini van that had plates that matched a stolen vehicle, but once the family started emerging from the van, it seemed pretty obvious (even from the helicopter camera far above) that this was not a bunch of crazy thieves that need to be spread out in a prone position on the highway with their hands cuffed. Whatever happened to chatting with the driver for a few minutes, letting him produce some papers.  It certainly seemed that with no less than 5 police vehicles and a helicopter, there was enough security around to walk up to the window and ask for a driver’s license and registration. This just seems to be part of an emerging body of video footage that includes a lot of pointless tasering and rough treatment by police. Clearly, America has a serious civility issue within segments of the police force.

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(8 votes, average: 9.75 out of 10)
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Just in case you missed it: bull runs amok in the standsNominee

August 20th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

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(7 votes, average: 8.71 out of 10)
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Serbia goes after tourists using…. cooked testicles!Nominee

August 17th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Swiss chocolate, Scottish whisky and Serbian… baked Ostrich scrotum, fried kangaroo testicles, barbecued reindeer balls.   Local tourism officials are hoping for a home run.  “The importance of a recognizable brand to sell a region cannot be underestimated,” said festival organizer Ivo Mokovich. “Look at how many people go to Scotland because of the whisky or how many people know Switzerland because of their cheese and chocolate. We are now hoping that the many famous and varied dishes that we have created in the region will become world-famous.’”  (Hmmm, good luck!)

Variety seems to be the key. The Testicle Cooking World Championship in Ozrem will feature testicles of animals including bull, wild boar, horse, shark, ostrich, kangaroo, donkey, turkey, goat, reindeer and elk.  Talk about kick-starting your appetite!  Don’t miss the big event on Aug 27.

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(5 votes, average: 5.80 out of 10)
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Google Earth video tour of America’s most insane freeway interchangesNominee

August 17th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Crazy intersection clip from VietnamNominee

August 17th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

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(2 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10)
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Over 1000 skiers trapped overnight on New Zealand’s Mt HuttNominee

August 13th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Due to severe winds gusting up to 200 km/h, over 1000 skiers and visitors (including 300 children) had to spend the night huddled in two cafes on Mt Hutt.

The access road was opened the next morning so people could get down the mountain.

Here’s video from TVNZ

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(2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 10)
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Titanic Awards founder on CNN International todayNominee

August 13th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

If you happen to be stuck on a layover at a foreign airport, check out the monitors at about 17:20 GMT.

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Unlucky Traveler: Malaria in GhanaNominee

August 12th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

The World’s Unluckiest Traveler is a competition run by Travel Guard (with loads of prizes). They have the people power to sort through the piles of travel nightmares and have selected a number of winners. Titanic Awards is unable to verify these tales. But here’s one to enjoy…

This traveler was subjected to a long and exhausting series of mishaps traveling through Ghana: After 2 days on a river barge, a canoe and bus, he missed his final bus connection so he joined similarly stranded travelers who pooled their resources to hire a local van.  Two hours into the journey, the van got a flat and there was no spare.  The group was left to spend the night in the local village where the chief invited them to his stay in his hut. But it was too small for this group of Westerners, so some were left to sleep outside with the goats, chickens and mosquitoes. This Unlucky Traveler suffered upwards of 100 mosquito bites with at least one of them infecting the traveler with malaria.

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(2 votes, average: 5.50 out of 10)
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Jet Blue flight attendent gets ignored, hit in head, yelled at and becomes folk hero for running from plane [Editorial]Nominee

August 10th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Gotta love the turn of events.  Perhaps we didn’t envision it as dramatically as Steven Slater’s getaway down the emergency slide, but with all the abuse that flight attendants take from strung-out passengers, it was just a matter of time before one of them snapped. What better way to follow a dramatic reaction than with another overly dramatic reaction — arresting the Jet Blue employee and charging him with crimes that could amount to seven years in prison. This, naturally, kicked off a viral online reaction with a dedicated Facebook page and many calling for his release.

EDITORIAL: What’s Jet Blue to do? Stand by their man, naturally. Drop the charges, let Steven keep the beer, give him some time off with pay, blacklist that asshole passenger from flying Jet Blue again, and give everyone else on that flight a free round trip ticket or two for their troubles.  The cost?  If they play this right, it will easily be worth the positive PR>

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(13 votes, average: 9.23 out of 10)
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Air Canada damages boy’s wheelchair, then does right thing after Twitter outrageNominee

August 9th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

After damaging ten-year-old Tanner Bawn’s $US15,000 custom-built wheelchair on a flight from Toronto to New York,  Air Canada first told the family about a multi-day wait for repairs, leaving the terminally ill boy confined to his hotel room.

But after finding itself in the middle of a shit-storm of Twitter rage, the airline got things taken care of in a hurry and threw in a trip to Disney World for Tanner and his extended family.

Air Canada did its homework on this one. Going to Disney World, and taking his cousins with him, is at the very top of Tanner’s wish list.

Nice to see an airline go above and beyond the call of duty to fix the problem.  It’s not often we see an airline take  a Titanic Award nomination and turn it into actual benefit. Hope other airlines sit up and take note.

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(11 votes, average: 10.00 out of 10)
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Chris Christensen’s World Worsts

August 6th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

amateurtravelerName Chris Christensen
Who? He’s the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast and a twice monthly video podcast. Check it out.
Age 49
Countries Visited 24

Titanic Nominations
1. Worst Beer I actually hate the taste of beer, so the fact that I do occasionally drink Tekate in Mexico on hot days on volunteer trips does not speak well for the brand.
2. Worst Airport Charles de Gualle is the top of my list right now after flying into there in winter and deplaning on the runway onto a sheet of ice. The whole airport looks like it has not been renovated since the 1950s.
3. Worst Hotel While my first thought went to rooms that smelled so badly of smoke that you thought they might have caught fire, the worst night I ever spent in a hotel was near Hanover Germany in a hotel that we only belatedly realized was over a beer hall on the night of Pinksterfest.
4. Worst Train Ride As a child my family missed a train in Denver and took the “milk train” instead. The whole train stank of sour milk.
5. Worst City for Driving Without question Rome is the worst. Not only is navigation a challenge (all roads may lead to Rome but few seem to lead out) but you are being passed on the left and right by a family of four on a Vespa.

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Famous Travelers

Briton strips to bikini in Dubai Mall, gets arrested (Editorial)Nominee

August 6th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Displaying an impressive disrepect for local culture, a British woman stripped down to her bikini and walked through the Dubai Mall after a local Emirati woman confronted her about the low-cut shirt she was wearing that, in her mind, violated the local conservative dress code.

Mall security brought both women to a police station where they were detained briefly, then released.

There have now been a string of incidents in Dubai. In March, a British couple spent a month in jail for kissing in public. An Indian couple got three months in jail for exchanging sexy text messages. In 2008, a British couple went to jail for three months for having sex on the beach.

Titanic Editorial: Dubai needs to make a decision. If they want to position themselves as a major tourist destination (especially for charter trips) and business hub for Westerners and the rest of the world, they’re going to need to make some adjustments.  I’m not saying they should change their values or culture or dress differently.  They just need to find a better way of informing visitors about their unique rules and a better way of punishing foreigners who violate them.  If a foreigner commits one of these social crimes (inappropriate dress, inappropriate speech or touching), a fine of perhaps $100 – $500 seems like a more realistic punishment. Months or days in jail is WAY overboard.  And Dubai tourism will continue to pay for it with bad PR as long as they keep it up.   They need to understand that it’s not easy for many Westerners to make the adjustment. A couple on a honeymoon might forget and spontaneously kiss while walking down the beach.  It’s especially difficult because hotels and bars seem to have a different set of rules. If you step into a Western hotel, you can wear a bikini, drink, and kiss without penalty.   Dubai is a fascinating city in many ways (I’ve had the pleasure of visiting it 4 times), but tourists need to be able to relax and walk down the street (or thru a mall) without fear that they’ll be chucked in jail for a crime they didn’t even realize was a crime.

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(8 votes, average: 8.88 out of 10)
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Titanic Talk on “This Week in Travel”Nominee

August 5th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

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(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 10)
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2o passengers forgotten on EuroStar trainNominee

August 4th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Good thing it’s a quick journey through the Eurotunnel — about 35 minutes. Makes the mistake a little more tolerable. About 20 passenger who made the journey from England waited in Calais for the train doors to open for 20 minutes, then were suddenly whisked back to England.

According to The Telegraph, they were discovered by “a startled Eurotunnel staff somewhere underneath the Channel.”

“The passengers were surprised, frustrated and annoyed,” said John Keefe, Eurotunnel’s spokesman.

Eventually the passengers in France… two hours behind schedule.

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(2 votes, average: 10.00 out of 10)
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Lonely Planet’s Top 5 Pubishing Mistakes (according to Tony Wheeler)Nominee

August 4th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

tonywheeler
In 1972, Maureen and Tony Wheeler famously road-tripped across Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and, the following year after settling in Sydney, they penned Across Asia on the Cheap.  They turned that one book into a travel publishing empire that now includes 500 titles in 8 languages (100 million copies sold!), TV programs, a TV production company, a magazine, mobile phone applications and a popular website. In 2007, they (together with investor John Singleton) sold 75% of Lonely Planet to BBC Worldwide for an undisclosed sum that several news outlets reported was in the neighborhood of £90 million.  Now that the founders have a little more distance between themselves and the day-to-day of running a publishing company, they were able to comment on some of the publishing gaffes they’ve made over the years. “Any book has mistakes,” said Tony, “whether it’s a typo, a misspelling or something factual. Packed with facts, figures and names, guidebooks can be a recipe for disaster. I’m amazed we manage to get everything right 99.99% of the time.”  Keep reading as Tony recalls five of LP’s most memorable mistakes.

1. Wrong Numbers
One wrong digit can be disastrous. We do a lot of double checking, but every now and then a “1″ becomes a “2″ and all those young travelers arriving at the bus station at midnight phone a popular backpacking hostel and wake up an innocent bystander instead. We did it to Mrs O’Something in Ireland and, apart from changing her phone number, informing everybody she knew, and paying her damages, her lawyer suggested a family trip to EuroDisney would be a good idea.

2. Wrong Title
Sometimes it’s not even the fine print. We managed to turn “Western Europe” into “Westen Europe” on the two-inch-thick spine of one edition, the 72-point typo snuck by designers, typesetters, proofreaders and printers before a packer in the warehouse found it.

3. Wrong Direction
“The next time this author researches a book, tattoo ‘RIGHT’ on his right hand and ‘LEFT’ on his left,” suggested the editor after one book was completed. Getting right and left or east and west mixed up can cause horrendous problems. We got the east and west exits from a major railway station crossed up in one book and sent countless visitors on a wild goose chase for a popular budget hotel.

4 Wrong Correction
Don’t let your editors – the profession seems to have a penchant for political correctness – make too many corrections.They’ll turn classic John Wayne cowboy and Indian flicks into something about cowpersons and native Americans. I wrote about one of my own experiences with overzealous correcting in The Lonely Planet Story:

In 1954 baseball hero Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe and, after the wedding, the happy couple was photographed outside the church of Sts Peter and Paul, a noted landmark in San Francisco’s North Beach district. It’s a famous photograph outside a famous church, but I was careful not to say it was taken after their wedding in the church. Because it wasn’t. Joe was a staunch Catholic and it was his second marriage (Marilyn’s too), so there was no way he could get married in a church. The wedding took place at San Francisco City Hall, only the photographs were taken outside the church. A careful editor checked the facts and found out, just as I had, that Joe and Marilyn weren’t married in the church, but then dug further. Fifteen years earlier Joe DiMaggio had indeed been married in the Sts Peter and Paul Church, to his first wife. So Marilyn Monroe got axed and replaced with Dorothy Arnold. Fortunately, I read the edited copy and caught this very accurate, but rather less interesting, correction and reinstated Marilyn.

[reprinted with permission from TW]

5 Wrong Translation
Translate your guidebook into a different language and a whole new field of error possibilities opens up. Like the German translation which declared that a red light district bar was the very best, the most superlative, the absolutely unbeatable, the incomparable. In fact, in English it was  “topless.”

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(4 votes, average: 9.75 out of 10)
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Three naked German tourists get lost in Swedish forestNominee

August 3rd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Swedish police called off a search when three naked German women (aged 40, 50, and 56) managed to find their holiday home after being lost in the woods.

The naturists set off for a walk in the woods near Karlshamn at around 4pm then failed to return after several hours.  Their waiting friends called the police, who deployed tracking dogs and a helicopter. The women managed to find their way back in the dark by 10:30 pm.

Source: The Local

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(3 votes, average: 8.67 out of 10)
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Embarrassing insurance claim: Doctor falls 30 feet off cliff while peeing in VietnamNominee

August 3rd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

A travel insurance firm is doing the legwork of sorting through some of the world’s worst travel insurance claims.  Here’s a classic about a doctor from California who was urinating off the edge of a cliff in Vietnam when the ground beneath his feet gave way and sent him plunging 30 feet down.  Talk about landing in an awkward position…  Got a travel nightmare? Send it in to Travel Guard’s World’s Unluckiest Traveler contest. According to the website, they’re handing out a $10,000 grand prize.

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(4 votes, average: 9.50 out of 10)
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